Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Trying to Beat the Slump with a Revamp of Our School Space

It's getting towards the end of the official school year and it feels like we are in a rut.  Stuck in the same routine, and if it's getting boring for me, it is for sure boring the kids.  We are in a slump.

Now that Adam is 3 I have a strong desire to give him more learning opportunities and that is pretty easy for me to do with all the amazing Mother Goose Time we have around here.  Yet, our days keep slipping by.

I keep staring at our 10 drawer system we have in the dining room/school room and thinking, it's just not being used to it's full potential.  Years ago I read about the workbox system at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Each of her children has a 10 drawer system that they work through each day.  I don't have room in the budget or the house for 3 sets of 10 drawers, but I do have the one.  Emptying it out means I have to find space somewhere else.  Which means I also have to clean out the bookshelf in the school space and the overflow shelf in the garage.  Needless to say, this simple project, took all day.

I have our Circle Time display board right next to the 10 drawer stand.  
On top of the 10 drawer system I have the CD player and the top drawer has all of our Mother Goose Time music.
The 2nd drawer has the days of the week clouds at the very back, the weather indicators and I already put washi tape on the back of tomorrow's date and stuck it to the bottom of the drawer.  In the morning he can pull out the first drawer to do all the Circle Time activities.
From there I put one Mother Goose Time lesson in each drawer.  The first activity is called There Are Bugs and the supplies we need include the book "There Are Bugs".
All that is in the drawer is the book.  Some might see this new arrangement as a waste of space.  But I think Adam will be more drawn to this set up, with out all the clutter.
The next activity is the Invitation to Create and it's called Bee.
I have included all of the supplies, except the ones listed under "your supplies".  But those are easy to grab when he is ready to get started.
The next drawer and the next activity is the Bug Bingo.
If I wasn't doing so many other things as I organized, I would have cut these cards apart so we were ready to go.
The last activity is the Investigation Station and it called for pompoms, an ice cube tray and tweezers.
It also called for blocks to see if they could figure out how to put blocks or walls around the tray.  I figure, when he seems ready to do this activity, I will either go grab blocks, or bring the whole thing to the play room where he can build with our large collection of Duplos.
If you are keeping count, that is only 6 drawers filled of our 10 drawer system.  The last two drawers I just filled with other Mother Goose Time items I had available.  I made the 7th drawer a STEM building slash color sorting drawer.
The last drawer I turned into a story and reading drawer by pulling the I Can Read book from day 16 of Bugs and Crawling Things.  I bet Adam could pick up on some of the words if we read this little gem a few times this month.  I also included this sequencing puzzle set because I thought the sequencing concept would go really well with the idea of story telling.
Since I still had 2 drawers left I decided to finally find a permanent home for our Pokemon card collection.  These are all the decks and counters that we need when we battle.

I now have a huge bin of stuff to pass along to other parents who may be interested at our homeschool night in a few days.  I also recycled a lot and threw a lot away.  But it has to be done.  Instead of having a bunch of stuff on this bookshelf that I never use and an overflowing top shelf of stuff I use everyday, I got rid of the stuff I don't use and made each shelf purposeful.  Curriculum on top, Bible shelf in the middle with a few odds and ends, and readers at the bottom.
The overflow shelf is looking fresh which should make it easier to find what I am looking for and easier for me to see what I have.
But don't let me convince you it all went smoothly.  This fine stack of children's books are all ones I would like to keep, but they now have no place to call home.  Where they will go, I do not know.
Now, when he asks for "school" to do, I can quickly direct him to his colorful drawers.  He won't feel left out and I won't feel overwhelmed.

I am so glad I took the time to clean out and reorganize our school space.  I always put this project off, but when it's done, it feels so good and I feel motivated to keep at it.

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